Working alone throws up a number of potential risks that might not be considered risks in a shared space. And mild risks can become more serious if there are no colleagues about to assist or rescue staff members who become injured.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was designed to protect employees from harm in the workplace, and forty years later it carries on doing just that. All workplaces are covered by it, as are all employees, whether they’re working alongside a hundred others in a warehouse or alone on a security patrol.
The identification of risks and acting upon them is the cornerstone of health and safety policy for any company. That’s why employers need to inspect their workplaces and look for potential risks and take measures to minimise the likelihood or effect of injury. Typical measures are clear signposting, training, the provision of safety equipment, fencing off or finding alternative ways around doing the job.
There are some tasks that could in theory be carried out alone but that carry such real risks that workers must be accompanied by a co-worker for them to be done safely. Examples include working in confined spaces, where a second person should be on hand to rescue trapped workers or raise the alarm; or working in hospital and social care situations where patients and clients can behave unpredictably.
With home working on the rise and employers often asking or allowing their staff to work from a spare bedroom or a kitchen table, it is worth noting that employers are still responsible for their staff, just as they would be if they were working on their own premises. A brief visit from a company representative is often necessary in such circumstances to ensure workers are not putting themselves in danger while homeworking. It is in employers’ own interests to see that this is done.
Peninsula can Help with your Lone Working Risk Assessments
If you have employees working alone in any situation, whether they’re manning a security post, felling trees in a forest or entering data in their living rooms, it is vital that you perform a lone working risk assessment. While many of the risk factors will be the same as those for any normal shared workplace, there are certain things that apply only to lone workers and you need to make sure these are covered.
Examples include equipment that requires two or more people to operate or items that are too heavy for one person to lift. Special measures might need to be put in place for people who are young, disabled, untrained or nearing the end of pregnancy.
Peninsula has a wealth of experience dealing with lone working risk assessments, and we have a team of fully qualified employment law specialists to guide you through them. Making sure your employees are safe isn’t just a box-ticking exercise; it’s a legal requirement and a mean of protecting your business’s profitability and efficiency. Contact us online or call 0800 328 9348 and we’ll be pleased to discuss your requirements.